What will Tiger Woods’ schedule look like this year? It’s something I get asked as often as anything else.
Not sure why anyone thinks I have the inside scoop. I’ve made it plenty clear that I do not. Also, not sure why so many people can’t just put together a few context clues to come up with a reasonable guess. It ain’t difficult.
Tiger doesn’t like to play three weeks in a row. It’s not likely that he’ll play much more than 15 times during the regular season. He has places he always plays. He has places he always doesn’t. He builds his schedule around major championships. He wants to qualify for the Olympics, but likely won’t do anything out of the ordinary to make it happen.
So, as Tiger starts up 2020 at the Farmers Insurance Open – in search of his 83rd PGA Tour victory – here’s my guess on where we’ll see The Man.
Genesis Invitational (Feb. 13-16): He’s already committed to the event that benefits his foundation. Tied for 15th place here last year, thanks to a third-round 65.
WGC-Mexico Championship (Feb. 20-23): Free money, free FedExCup points, free world rankings. Hard to envision him missing this. Tied for 10th place last year, 13 shots behind Dustin Johnson.
Arnold Palmer Invitational (March 5-8): Did not play here last year because of a neck strain, but I just don’t see any way he misses this year. He’s won here eight times.
The Players Championship (March 12-15): It’s The Players, he’s won here twice. He’s playing.
WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play (March 26-29): Has to get a start in between The Players and the Masters and this is the only logical place. Had a great run in 2019, beating Rory McIlroy in the quarterfinals.
Masters Tournament (April 9-12): The five-time champ returns to defend and looks to collect No. 16. Swoon.
Wells Fargo Championship (April 30-May 3): I view this as 50-50. Didn’t play last year because he wasn’t ready to return after the Masters win. But because he didn’t play he was not prepared to play the PGA Championship. Same concept this year. Could add it if he’s really wanting to make that push to qualify for the Olympics.
PGA Championship (May 14-17): It’s a major, he’ll be there. Has played well – and won – at Harding Park in the past.
The Memorial (June 4-7): Tied for ninth here last year and it’s a place he hates to miss. As always, a perfect tune-up before the U.S. Open.
U.S. Open (June 18-21): Missed the cut at Winged Foot in 2006, but he was not in a good place since his father had passed away only a few weeks earlier.
WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational (July 2-5): This one will be interesting. A lot to digest here. The U.S. Olympic team will already be finalized so he won’t need to play for that. If, however, he’s already qualified for that team he may want to skip because his schedule over the following month will be heavy. Also, he is playing in the J.P. McManus Pro-Am in Ireland the following Monday and Tuesday (July 6-7). How will he get from Memphis Sunday night to Ireland early Monday morning, with a time difference? But he missed this event last year. Would he possibly do it for the second consecutive year?
The Open (July 16-19): Did not play at Royal St. George’s in 2011 because he was healing from knee injuries but did play there in 2003.
Olympic golf tournament ( July 30-Aug. 2): As mentioned earlier, Tiger has said he wants to make the Olympics and there is no reason to think he’s anything other than truthful. But he’s not going to go crazy trying to qualify for it. The qualifying ends on June 22 and he would need to be one of the top four ranked Americans at that time. The first three majors this year are huge. It’s going to be close kids. Super close.
The Northern Trust (Aug. 13-16): I imagine he’ll play here. A reason not to play, though, would be for more rest if he does play in the Olympics. He’d have to be pretty tired by then. It’ll depend more on his FedEx ranking by then.
BMW Championship (Aug. 20-23): Only way he wouldn’t be here would be because of injury or because he didn’t qualify. Let’s hope neither ends up on the menu.
Tour Championship (Aug. 27-30): See the previous item. He won in 2018 and missed qualifying for the event altogether in 2019. He wants to get back to East Lake.
Ryder Cup (Sept. 25-27): Why question it? If he’s upright, he’s on the team.
Zozo Championship (Oct. 22-25): Defending champion. Remember No. 82?
Hero World Challenge (Dec. 3-6): You know the drill.
Misc.: This is 20 total events. That’s too many. Throw in the Ireland pro-am in July and another likely pay-for-play event somewhere during the fall and something has to give. The Olympics is the key and his participation, or not, will dictate much of his schedule. Stay tuned.